What to know about online Suboxone® treatment

Discover the truth about online Suboxone treatment. Understand the differences between reliable providers and potential pitfalls.

Ophelia team
Online suboxone treatment
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Fact checked by
Erica Lyons, DNP, MS, APRN, FNP-BC

Suboxone® (buprenorphine/naloxone) can be a life-changing medication for those dealing with opioid use disorder (OUD), especially as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan. However, many patients struggle to find treatment. Online healthcare providers who prescribe Suboxone, like Ophelia, seek to bridge that gap, but there are still some obstacles in the way. 

Receiving judgment-free, supportive, and reliable help online may seem too good to be true. While there may be several agencies online who provide subpar care or may not be as reliable as others, these agencies are usually the exception. Many online healthcare providers actually seek to help patients as accurately as possible. 

Healthcare providers such as Ophelia aim to change the online treatment landscaping by providing easy access to comprehensive treatment and care. 

Is online addiction care too good to be true?

Regrettably, shady medical providers irresponsibly prescribing medication is not new. Pill mills — clinics or care facilities that see high volumes of patients and freely prescribe medication without sufficient medical justification — have existed for decades. 

Some people may draw comparisons between these online pill mills and healthcare providers who prescribe Suboxone, but in reality, they have almost no overlap. Pill mills focus heavily on pushing prescription pills to make a profit without necessarily caring for their patients’ needs or evolving conditions. Legitimate telehealth clinics that prescribe Suboxone are invested in their patients’ well-being. They only prescribe Suboxone when medically necessary and appropriate, and they also offer consistent follow-up care and support to ensure the patient’s health is at its best. 

One of the best ways to distinguish legitimate providers from pill mills is to read more about the team. It’s best to ensure that the team is composed of credible clinicians who are properly certified and trained. Clinicians and providers must be vetted and evaluated by companies that are experts in the addiction treatment industry.

Additionally, a reputable telehealth provider will also offer additional support, such as guiding patients through the enrollment process and providing support when communicating with insurance companies. 

The Ryan Haight Act + the regulation of opioids online

In 2001, Ryan Haight, an 18-year-old California high school student, sadly died of an overdose of prescription opioids he bought over the internet. His death prompted the Ryan Haight Online Pharmacy Consumer Protection Act of 2008, commonly known as the Ryan Haight Act. This Act amended the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to require medical providers to conduct at least one in-person evaluation before prescribing and dispensing controlled substances over the internet. 

While the aim of the Act is to protect patients, it’s important to note that the Ryan Haight Act does not prevent online black markets for opioids and other drugs. With social media and digital payment apps, these online black markets are thriving today and essentially operating in broad daylight. The Act presents an additional barrier preventing actual reliable clinicians from getting lifesaving care to individual patients of all ages.

There are many different reasons a patient dealing with OUD may not be able or willing to see a doctor for an in-person evaluation. In many areas across the country, there are very limited resources for addiction treatment or OUD specialists may not be available within an accessible distance for patients. The nearest result in a search for “Suboxone doctor near me” can be over 100 miles away. 

Some patients worry about the stigma of seeking treatment in person, while others may be unavailable during working hours when most appointments are available. Requirements like those in the Ryan Haight Act work against patients in any of these scenarios when they are seeking addiction care. 

Prescribing Suboxone online

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person medical care, including addiction treatment, was even less accessible. In response, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) granted exceptions to the Ryan Haight Act and allowed medical providers to prescribe controlled medication without conducting an in-person exam. These temporary exceptions made a legal avenue to telehealth Suboxone prescriptions possible. Clinicians prescribing Suboxone online must still follow all other regulations, such as the need for a DEA Schedule III authority. 

How Ophelia works responsibly

Ophelia is dedicated to providing high-quality, personalized OUD treatment to patients. While Ophelia provides treatment to patients online, our practice is just as reliable and trustworthy as any in-person provider. Just like in any in-person care setting, such as an addiction clinic, federally qualified health center (FQHC), or primary care practice, Ophelia’s clinicians are licensed by the state board and have active DEA licenses that are registered with every state in which they practice. 

Leading medical experts designed Ophelia’s program. Operating online makes Ophelia more accessible and convenient for patients without sacrificing any of the care or expertise patients find in in-person settings. 

Ophelia’s approach is thoughtful and comprehensive. In addition to clinicians, our team is also composed of care coordinators. Our care coordinators serve as advocates for our patients, as they take care of any issues pertaining to insurance or prescriptions. Our enrollment team focuses on helping each patient complete paperwork and process crucial information for ongoing treatment. 

Dealing with OUD is challenging. Patients deserve to have dedicated, qualified care clinicians on their side throughout treatment, and that is what Ophelia provides. Schedule a free consultation to see if Ophelia is the right fit for you.


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